This summer I took the plunge and became a lifetime member of JASNA (i.e., the Jane Austen Society of North America)--got my pin in yesterday's mail as a matter of fact--after initially joining out of college in the early 80's. Over the years, I've been to half a dozen AGMs (annual general meetings) and lots of regional meetings. Men make up less than 1% of the attendees, and I think it's safe to say that men make up less than 1% of the people who read Austen although I haven't done any actual research!
Is it just Austen with regards to men not reading her works and the thought/fear that reading Austen is akin to watching Sex in the City? Do other female authors have a bigger male audience? All I know about Ursula Le Guin is that she was mentioned in the Jane Austen Bookclub as a sci-fi writer, but I'm guessing that she has a pretty good percentage of males in her readership. The thought process here is that there are more sci-fi readers who are men than women, but I could be falling into a sterotype trap here.
In the classics, George Eliot might attract the opposite sex as well. Is that only because she ditched her girly name (Maryann) for a manly one or is it the nature of her work? What about Willa Cather and Harriet Beecher Stowe?
I honestly don't think I select books based on the gender of the author, but do others?